Ahold Delhaize, the Netherlands-based grocer that operates the Giant Food, Giant/Martin’s, Stop & Shop, Food Lion and Hannaford banners in the U.S., said last month that it is testing a checkout-free “NanoStore” – similar to Amazon Go – in its home country.
The 150 square foot store – called AH To Go and located in front of Ahold Delhaize’s corporate headquarters in Zaandam – uses “grab and go” technology from California-based startup AiFi. Plans are for the store to be relocated to another site later in the year.
A company spokesperson would not disclose future plans, including whether or not the concept would eventually come to the U.S.
“We developed NanoStore with advanced computer vision and sensing technologies to enable automated checkout,” said AiFi CEO Steve Gu. “Cameras see where you are in the store and associate product items to your virtual basket. In addition, in-store sensors keep track of products that are taken off or put back on the shelves. Multiple sensing modalities work like a symphony to accurately decipher who is grabbing what, instantaneously.”
AH To Go sells ready-to-eat foods like sandwiches, wraps and salads, as well as convenience-focused meal, snack and beverage options, all with a focus on healthy fare.
Customers display a payment card at the entrance and while shopping, the store registers the products taken off the shelf by that customer. When the shopping is completed, the customer stands at the exit to see the total cost on a display, and is quickly notified that payment has been successful. There is no advanced registration or app needed.
Amazon Go has opened 16 stores so far in the U.S. that range from about 1,200 to 2,400 square feet. Bloomberg reported that Amazon may open up to 3,000 Go stores by 2021.